While aging may bring wisdom, it also brings the risk of increasingly more ailments. Many people are fortunate to live long into their elder years with few illnesses; however, if you’re concerned about your health going into old age, below are the most common conditions to watch out for.
One of the most common conditions to arise with old age is hearing loss. This is largely due to the deterioration of tiny hairs in a person’s ear that process sound. While not everyone experiences severe hearing loss into their twilight years, most people experience a reduction as they get older. In some cases, this can be so severe that a person requires hearing aids.
Factors such as chronic exposure to loud noises, genetics, and smoking can affect hearing loss as you get older. If you are experiencing problems with your hearing, it can be worth visiting an ENT in Arlington TX, who can properly diagnose and treat your condition.
As we age, our joints become stiffer and less mobile. In some cases, this develops into arthritis, an inflammatory condition of the joints. As the disease progresses, a person may experience a significant amount of pain and restricted movement. The two most well-known types are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The latter of the two is more common, as it is largely due to wear and tear of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the lining of the joints.
Heart disease is the number one killer in the US, and not just among elderly people. The most common form of this condition is coronary artery disease, which consists of a narrowing of the arteries that supply the heart with blood. The main causes of cardiovascular disease are lack of exercise and poor diet, but genetics and environmental issues like stress can also be big contributing factors. As coronary artery disease develops, it can eventually lead to blockages which cause a heart attack.
Dementia is another age-related condition that results in a loss of memory, brain functioning, cognition, communication, and judgment. In its later stages, people with dementia can experience severe mood swings and eventually lose motor control. While there are many types of dementia, the most common ones include:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Vascular Dementia
- Huntington’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Lewy Body Dementia
Also known as “brittle bone disease”, osteoporosis is a condition of bone mass loss that leads to an eventual thinning and weakening of the bone. Most common among Asian and Caucasian women, the risk factors for this condition include Vitamin D deficiency and low bone density. The biggest danger with osteoporosis is broken or fractured hips in older adults, which can eventually lead to loss of mobility. Regular weight-bearing exercise and diet changes to include calcium and Vitamin D are often recommended.
Sight Problems (Including Blindness)
Along with hearing loss, many older individuals begin to experience changes to their sight as well. This includes blindness or partial blindness and/or eye conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma. One of the leading causes of blindness is age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which occurs when the macula fills up with deposits. It can also be caused by the development of abnormal blood vessels under the macula.
Other conditions like diabetes can also contribute to sight loss as diabetic retinopathy damages the retina. The good news is that, like hearing, there are treatments available for sight problems such as surgery and eye drops.